Of roses and thorns: 08/14/22 – The dispatch

A rose to DEnnis Dupree Sr., who came out of retirement to serve as acting superintendent of schools for the Columbus Municipal School District. CMSD’s board of directors announced the hiring of Dupree on Thursday, two days after the board accepted the abrupt resignation of Cherie Labat, who had served as superintendent since 2018. There is no doubt that Dupree is stepping into a difficult role to head of the district as the search for a new superintendent begins. . His knowledge of the neighborhood — where he held various positions from 1992 to 2007 — will help him in this role. Dupree spent 12 years as Clarksdale School District superintendent before retiring in 2019, an experience that should stand him in good stead at this important time for the district. We congratulate Dupree for his willingness to accept the challenge and wish him much success.

A thorn in the mayor’s office and the Columbus City Council for another hiring process moving at freezing speed. On July 12, a day after Police Chief Fred Shelton was forced to retire, Mayor Keith Gaskin said a committee would be formed to help find a new chief. Today, a month later, the committee has still not been formed. As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and a month’s delay in forming the committee that will conduct the research is a step yet taken. The delay in forming the committee recalls the slow pace of efforts to hire a new COO (8 months after David Armstrong’s retirement) and a new CFO (six months after Delia Vaughn’s resignation). The city should proceed with this search for a new police chief with care and thoroughness. Some parts of the process will require time and patience. But getting started shouldn’t be a task of more than a month. It’s time for the city to get involved, especially for a position as important as that of chief of police.

A rose to members of the Starkville community who stepped up to help one of their own. For 23 years, Shirley Powell has been a fixture at Starkville Cafe, where her sunny disposition has made her a favorite with restaurant patrons. So when Powell’s home in Maben suffered extensive fire damage on August 1, community organizations, restaurant patrons and other citizens immediately gathered around it, providing clothing and supplies. other household items lost in the fire and creating a GoFundMe account for Powell, her husband and the couple’s four grandchildren who live in the residence. Others made direct cash donations. The mark of a good community is that they take care of their own, which is what we see all over the Golden Triangle when these kinds of tragic events happen. We congratulate everyone who comes to Powell’s aid and hope the family gets back on their feet soon.

Dispatch’s editorial board is made up of editor Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.

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